And he was a righteous man!
These words are found throughout the Bible and today bring about a picture of someone who is upright and an example for all of us. Yet in our Bible those righteous men were not always such. Many of them were far from what we would classify as "righteous" perhaps because they are all human. The story of King David and Bethsheba is found in 2 Samuel 11:1-15 is no different.
I can't help but think of the example of my husband, yes a pastor, speaking to a women who wouldn't attend church anymore because "too many hypocrites" attended church. And although she was right - there were several horrible Christians in that church, my husband's response - not pastoral at all - hit the nail on the head: "well there is always room for one more!"
Church isn't a place for saints. In fact one of my favorite church signs is "Sinners Anonymous, Sunday Mornings, We will save you a seat" For we are all sinners. No matter how hard we try to be better our lives are full of temptation and our days are full of things that are done in opposition to God's will for we are after all human.
Church isn't about a bunch of saints coming together and it certainly isn't the place that should be giving out judgment. It also doesn't deserve the large amount of judgement from the community when something goes wrong.
David went out and basically raped a women, who was unclean because of her period, got her pregnant and then tried to trick the husband in coming home and having sex with his wife so that he would not be "found out." When the husband did the right and righteous thing, David had him killed. For sure not what any of us would consider righteous and in fact if this type of scandal occurred in a church today you better believe that the 24 hour news would be eating this type of sensation up and screaming all about this horrible thing the church did.
It is easy to look inside the church and see all the "wrong" that is done. It is easy to be involved in a church and fall into the trap of "better then thou" But what takes courage and strength is to stand in the midst of the disorder and fix it. To try and spread God's message and to instead of continuing the cycle of judgment - for it doesn't matter who judges first, to instead spread the love of Christ we are asked to.
I encourage each of us to see the GOOD that the church is doing. That there are churches like the PCUSA which are changing their systems to be open and affirming to all people giving equal rights. That there are small churches with members numbering under 100 who are serving their communities faithfully and offering people refuge, food and the love of God. That there are large churches that despite the fighting that might seem to happen too much in the church parking lot gossip - God is working within and through them to do more good. That although David may have messed up, he was still righteous. That we too can be righteous in all we do. And our churches can still be doing good. Let us find the glimmer of love and justice in all our churches!